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The unwritten rules of the Facebook buy/sell group

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESPER HEDE AT CUBED STUDIO

WORDS BY ALYCE GREER

Because hell hath no fury like an admin scorned.

As a gal of a certain age, cleaning out my closet has become a necessary chore. As a self-confessed hoarder, sometimes it’s really hard to give away that dress I wore once to a wedding two years ago and will definitely find an occasion to wear again. 

This, however, is only half the battle. The second half is working out what to do with all these clothes. Sure I donate most, and even give to friends. But some items are only a few months old! And, AND they were expensive! They were simply bold purchases that someone else can pull off better than I. (Honestly, what is it about flares that keep me going back for more?) 

In any case, these pieces deserve a loving home in the wardrobe of a person who actually looks good in seventies clothing. And so, I sell them.

While I do love eBay, sometimes the process can be a bit laborious. This is why Facebook marketplace groups are the bees’ knees. They’re are perfect for that niche item you just want to get rid of quickly, with the ease of Facebook inbox negotiation.

For those unfamiliar with these groups (how’s the rock you’ve been living under?) here’s a quick break down. In short: Facebook buy/sell groups are set up by normal Facebook users in order to create a community in which members can buy and sell a niche category of item. The groups are governed by rules as to what can and cannot be sold, and then users are free to post their items for other users to buy/bid on. 

But as any Facebook-group veteran would know, there is an unwritten code that accompanies the rules of any group. Break that code, and you’re out. To help a first-timer, I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the most important codes of conduct after being accepted into one of these groups.  

Know the lingo

Facebook buy/sell groups have more acronyms than an airport, and if you’re not careful, you can make a stressful mistake. Like, sell your item to someone who’s not next in line. Awkward. Be sure you’re educated in the lingo: 

F = the commenter is Following the post

PM’d = the commenter has sent the seller a Private Message

WTB = the poster is Wanting To Buy the item

ISO = the poster is In Search Of the item, instead of selling

NIL = the commenter is Next In Line for the item

BUMP = this person is trying to get their post to the top of the feed

BNWT = the item is Brand New With Tags

BNNW = the item is Brand New, Never Worn

BNIB = the item is Brand New In Box

BNIP = the item is Brand New In Package

BK = the item is Broken

NP = this could mean either No Problem or Not Packaged

EUC = the item is in Excellent Used Condition

GU/GUC = the item is in Good Used Condition

HTF = used when an item is Hard To Find (whether that’s true or not, it can be hard to know for sure)

OOAK =  used when an item is (allegedly) One Of A Kind

LEW = the item is Listed Elsewhere

PIOG = this item is Posted In Other Groups

LOMS = this item is Listed On Multiple Groups

SFS = the item is Still For Sale

NH = there will be No Holds on this item

FCFA = the seller is making you aware that the sale will be on a First Come, First Available basis

FCFS = the same as FCFA, the sale will be on a First Come, First Serve basis

FTPU = the seller won’t be holding this item for the first person who made contact. Instead, they will be selling it to the First To Pick Up (and pay, obviously)

SSTC = the item is Sold Subject To Contract

SSTP = the item is Sold Subject To Payment

PPU = the item is sold Pending Pick Up

Rules are rules

When you get accepted into a new buy/sell group, it is already a functioning mini-society. Simply obey the rules, respect the customers, and resist any attempts to shake shit up. The rules of any Facebook buy/sell group are concrete — including what can and cannot post. Make sure you give these a thorough read to avoid being publicly crucified.

Read the room

It’s fairly simple: only post what your audience wants to buy. Vegan clothing group? A vintage mink fur coat probably won’t go down so well. Similarly, if you’re on HIGH END or a comparable group, you’re speaking to a group of people that love designer fashion. Stick to posting appropriate items (your 2012 Sportsgirl knit isn’t welcome here) and be detailed in your description.

Keep it PG-rated

In these groups, sex doesn’t always sell. Regardless of what you’re selling, skip the risqué shots and show the item in the best light. We’re trying to make some money here, guys.

Pics don’t lie

Obviously, photos are very, very important. It goes without saying your imagery should correspond to the amount you’re asking for, so FFS, give your dress a steam. Also, this is not the time to be shady. In your listing, make note of any faults or damage and provide photo evidence. Lastly, don’t do that thing some people do, where they mark the item as ‘never been worn’ even though they’re quite clearly wearing it in the supporting photo.

Respect the admins

When people say Fashion Gods, I’m fairly sure this is who they’re referring to. Bless (and respect) the admins of Facebook buy/sell groups who volunteer hours of their time to an unregulated forum that has no real policing. They’re the real MVPs. 

Happy selling, ya’ll.

Alyce is a contributing writer for Fashion Journal and the director and head writer at Bossy, a Melbourne-based copywriting and content studio. You can find Bossy here and here.

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